In its history, the Australian Open has been estranged by many big players, and it was not until the 1980s that this tournament transformed to match the level of a Grand Slam.
Because of Australia’s remote geographic distance, the first tournaments were attended by very few foreign players. In the 1920s, it took 45 days to travel from Europe to Australia by ship.
The first players to travel to Australia by plane were the Davis Cup USA team in November 1946. Even for local players, attending the tournament is not easy.
When the tournament was held in Perth, not a single player from Victoria or New South Wales registered to attend. Because if so, they would have to take the train more than 3,000 km. Or, in the tournament held in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1906, only two Australian players attended.
Since 1969, the Australian Open has allowed all registered players, including professional athletes. But, except for the two awards in 1969 and 1971, until 1981, most of the best players in the world did not attend due to the irrationality of the schedule, along with the amount of money is not attractive.
In 1987, the big change from the pitch at the old club (Kooyong) to the hard one at Melbourne Park was a big leap. Also in the same year, the tournament moves in time from December to January. But at that time and until the early 1990s, Roy Emerson’s 11 Grand Slam was still considered insurmountable. Players were still more accustomed to the 3 Grand Slam system, instead of accepting Australians Open more.
The participation of top tennis players in the Australian Open
The current generation of tennis is the clearest testament to the appeal of the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic has been crowned six times here – half of the Grand Slam he won. It is also where for the first time, Nole won a major tournament (2008). He went through the next 11 non-championship Grand Slams, but then entered a golden age, starting with the 2011 Australian Open.
Serena Williams also owns seven Australian Open titles – the most in the Open era (since 1968), far ahead of legends like Monica Seles, Steffi Graf (4) and Martina Hingis (3). Unfortunately, she did not attend this year’s tournament because she did not regain her form after giving birth. Federer, although forte at Wimbledon (eight championships), but also five times won the Australian Open, equivalent to the US Open.